Blue Sadie Headphones

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $399

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Brilliant styling
Built-in headphone amp
Click-on bass boost
Minus
Not super transparent

THE VERDICT
The Blue Sadie is one of the more unique headphones on the market. The look and feel are mighty impressive. The sound is up to snuff too!

Blue is known primarily as a high-end studio and consumer microphone manufacturer, but they broke into the headphone scene with their radically designed Mo-Fi back in 2014. I liked that headphone well enough, but it was heavy, and the sound balance struck me as a little too Beats inspired. Mo-Fi is history, but Blue’s new one goes by the name Sadie, and her sound is more in tune with audiophile tastes.

Sadie feels sturdy, but she’s 7 ounces lighter than Mo-Fi, tilting the scales comfortably under one pound. She’s fairly comfortable, and for that I credit Sadie’s Formula One racecar-inspired “multi-point” fit system that automatically conforms to all head sizes. The sumptuously padded headband and ear cushions do a great job hushing external noise for this closed-back headphone. One stumble: The side arms squeaked a little when I took the headphones on or off. Sadie’s 50mm fiberreinforced drivers sound like they mean business.

Sadie has a built-in headphone amp, but you can also play her passively, without the amp. The amp lets this headphone play a lot louder, with improved dynamic punch than it normally would have with smartphones. But wait, there’s more: When you crave something a little extra in your tunes, that amp can supply a gentle bass boost. Sadie’s polymer Li-ion battery charges in four hours via USB and delivers around twelve hours of playing time. When the battery runs out of juice, no worries, the music plays on with Sadie in passive, not powered mode. That’s not a big comedown sound-quality wise; I did much of my listening sans battery power, and with my iPhone 6S Sadie played plenty loud without the amp’s assistance. Taking Sadie off your head automatically turns the amp off, which is great, but if you turn the amp off while listening, Sadie makes a mild but annoying “pop” sound in the earcups.

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You get two cables, a 4-foot Apple-compatible phone cable and a 9.8-foot “straight” cable for home use. There’s also a 4-foot USB charging cable for the battery.

Sadie is easy to listen to, and for a closed-back design, she’s open and spacious. Right away I was impressed by Sadie’s midrange. Vocals were satisfyingly natural, and when I grooved with my favorite young reggae band, the Frightnrs, Sadie’s bass boost was much appreciated. Not overdone, but the boost definitely adds some extra fullness down there.

Pitting Sadie against Audeze’s Sine on-ear headphones ($449) seemed like a fair match, and in short order the Sine proved itself to be the more transparent performer. The tables turned with a highly dynamic recording like the all-percussion Explorations in Space & Time album, though. With that one, Sadie was considerably more alive and powerful sounding than the Sine. Sadie thrives on high-energy music, where her amp’s extra juice is a big help. Her stealth amp is certainly a lot more convenient than carrying around a separate portable amp.

Cruising with the Drive-By Truckers’ American Band album was a joyous ride, so, sure, I kicked on the bass boost. How could I not? Music should make you feel something, right? Sadie scores big on that front, with every genre.

Blue’s Sadie is an entertainer with a big heart. I like her style, and the amp provides extra oomph to her sound. Comfort was good overall, but the weight and highish earpad pressure over long listening sessions is a concern. Still, Sadie demonstrates Blue’s ongoing commitment to the headphone market, and a new wireless model will be available by the time you read this.

COMPANY INFO

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